Month: May 2014

The Hows & Whys of Our Car Purchase: A 2009 Toyota Prius

If you had told us a year ago when we started our research that we would wind up settling on a new car for our car purchase, I would have laughed at you. We’ve been strongly committed to buying a late model used car for a long time, since we viewed it as the best …

Categories: Automobile

How I Use Credit Cards … And Why

Sasha writes in with a typical question: A lot of different personal finance bloggers have different ways that they use credit cards. Some of them don’t use them at all. Others seem to use them a lot. Where do you stand and why? I started off answering this question for the reader mailbag, but then …

Categories: Credit Cards

Sports Illustrated’s Fifty Years of Great Writing – Free!

I love reading essays. There are few things better than kicking back with a small piece of great writing that can both educate and entertain you, yet you’re finished in just one sitting. For many, many years, Sports Illustrated was the home of the best in sports essays. For many years, I was a faithful …

Categories: Writing

Teaching a Three Year Old How to Save

Over the last few months, my three year old son has received quite a few $1 and $5 bills from relatives for various reasons – his birthday and Christmas chief among them. Prior to the past few months, we would simply allow him to “spend” the money in a very simple fashion. He would take …

14 Tactics for Getting Ahead At Work – No Matter What Your Job Is

In every place I’ve worked, I’ve noticed a handful of patterns. Some people seem to fit in well, do their work, and usually get the perks – opportunities, raises, and promotions. Others are just kind of “there” – they do their work, but they never step up to the plate and rarely get the perks …

Categories: Careers

Self-Reliance

The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of the muscle. He has got a fine Geneva watch, but he has lost the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Spring Break Edition

My wife has the week off this week and we’re enjoying it. Our kids are going to have their first overnight stay at their grandparents while my wife and I go for an overnight trip with another married couple that we’ve known literally for decades. We’re also going to spend a few days staying at …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Is a Frugality Tip That Saves You a Quarter a Waste of Time? Some Notes on Economies of Scale

A recent comment by Mindy provided an interesting insight into how many people view frugality: I know I’m a little late coming to this discussion but, unless I missed it among the large volume of comments, no one is counting the amount of time spent making stuff in order to save. The link to the …

Categories: Frugality

Quality of Life and Consumer Spending

Recently, I read a fascinating comment from Sydney on SmartSpending (I added the bold myself): I’ve never understood the unending supply of articles telling people to skip a cup of coffee or brown bag lunch just to save a few dollars. It helps, sure, but it won’t save you if you’ve made bad decisions on …

Categories: Getting Started

Thoughts on Working from Home – One Year Later

One year ago, I began my journey as a full-time writer working from home. Prior to making that leap, I worked full time in a research lab with a small, rather tight-knit group of people and I spent my spare time (when I could find it) working on The Simple Dollar. After a year and …

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Meta

Reader Mailbag #54

Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags. As usual, we’ll start things off with …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The One-Life Solution

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. A few weeks ago, I went out to breakfast with a big group. Most of us were engaged in great conversations about blogging and, frankly, Iowa media gossip, but a few people were pretty noticeably withdrawn from the discussion. They …

10 Best Personal Finance Apps For Success on The iPhone

This article has been requested by a small army of readers. For many of you, this article won’t apply much at all – for a few of you, hopefully this article will prove quite useful. As I mentioned a while back, I received an iPod Touch as a Christmas gift this year. An iPod Touch, …

Categories: Technology

My Real Net Worth

Every month, I spend some time on a personal finance statement. I’m careful to include the current balances on all of my debts and assets, then I add up the assets, subtract the debts off the top, and wind up with a number that, in one single value, represents my financial standing in the world. …

Categories: Getting Started

A Guide to Making Inexpensive and Delicious Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza night is a weekly occurrence at our house. For us, there is simply nothing that quite matches homemade pizza for appealing to all of us – it’s infinitely flexible, incredibly cheap, fun to make (and it gets everyone involved, even the small children), and quite delicious. Best of all, if you plan ahead …

Categories: Food

Who’s Right? Who’s Wrong?

Recently, I heard some pretty strong (but valid) criticism of The Simple Dollar (that applies to most personal finance blogs out there): You are a guy in your [thirties] who lists no credentials except the fact that you made it through a “complete financial meltdown” a few years ago. You have no professional training and …

Categories: Getting Started, Meta

Frugality and Feeling Deprived

One of the things my wife and I both pride ourselves on is coming up with inexpensive and creative solutions for common problems. We like using white vinegar as a fabric softener – it’s inexpensive and accomplishes the same goal. We like eating leftovers. My wife just spent two weeks hand-sewing stuffed animals that she …

Categories: Frugality

My Worst Job – And What It Taught Me

When I was nineteen, one of my college professors wanted me to stick around campus for the summer to help him with a large project. Unfortunately, the project would really only employ me for about fifteen hours a week, so to supplement that time, he helped me hunt for another job on campus. Eventually, he …

Categories: Careers

Personal Debts: Should They Come First?

Sharon writes in: I created a debt repayment plan just as you suggested, but I had one real problem. I borrowed $1,000 from my mother with no interest, which would mean it should be the last debt I repay on that plan, but every time I see my mother, I feel guilty knowing I’m repaying …

Categories: Debt